Buses in car parks irk business owners

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"Not cool" . . . Dunedin business owners concerned about car parks in Moray Pl being used as a temporary bus stop (from left) Zen salon co-owner Liana King, Nude Skin and Beauty owner Nikki Diack and Zen salon co-owner Haley Cron. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Business owners are slamming the Dunedin City Council for its lack of notice of removing car parks in Moray Pl.

Nude Skin and Beauty owner Nikki Diack said she was concerned about the Dunedin City Council’s decision to paint over the white lines outlining four car parks outside her beauty salon in Moray Pl with yellow lines to create a temporary stop for school buses last week.

Parking was already at a premium in the area, she said.

She would have like the council to have consulted businesses in the area before the decision to change the space was made, she said.

Finding a car park was more difficult since the “Octagon Experience” had removed scores of car parks near her business.

The council is carrying out the trial closure until February 16.

From that date to March 23 it will also hold partial closures.

She understood the reasons for blocking traffic entering the Octagon, but she failed to understand the reasons for blocking access to side streets, such as a section of Princes, George and upper and lower Stuart Sts.

“I don’t see the need to block off all the streets.”

She remained in the dark as to why a school bus stop was needed outside her business.

If the bus stop was for school buses she questioned why the space could not be used by customers during school hours.

Mrs Diack said she feared the council would make Octagon Experience permanent without consulting businesses.

The measures the council had taken to block traffic entering the Octagon, such as bright orange plastic barriers outside her business, were “hideous”.

The loss of the car parks would not result in her losing business as her “local clientele” were loyal.

However, she felt for her elderly customers who were finding it harder to access her business.

Zen salon co-owner Liana King said they would have appreciated some forewarning from the council about losing the car parks so they could have alerted their customers wanting to access the salon in Moray Pl.

“Especially people who have disabilities and can’t walk very far.”

Salon co-owner Haley Cron said despite the temporary stop being designated for school buses, it was being used by buses to transport tourists.

The Octagon Experience was an “awesome idea” but “in reality it’s s—“.

“It makes no sense to me.”

The road closures had affected traffic flow in Moray Pl.

“The intersection backs up people angry and agitated. It’s just not cool.”

Council City Services general manager Sandy Graham said the temporary bus stop would be in place until March 9.

The stop was installed for school children on buses visiting the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

Normally buses would stop outside the gallery or in Moray Pl, opposite View St, where children do not have to cross roads.

The stop would be used more now the school term had started.

“In considering temporary bus stops for the Octagon Experience, children’s safety was paramount so when they are dropped off and picked up in upper Moray Pl they will not need to cross roads.”

While schools’ official hours are 9am to 3pm, the temporary bus stops would remain in place for school buses as it was likely to cause more confusion if it was a bus stop at certain times and public parking at other times.

“We believe that nearby P5 parks on Moray Pl near businesses are adequate for the trial.”

Two temporary bus stops, opposite St Paul’s Cathedral, were available for national tour buses. The council consulted many businesses in and around the Octagon and many more businesses were informed through media and other communication channels, she said.

Traffic flow in Moray Pl was considered during the planning phase of this trial and an approved traffic management plan was put in place.

“We expect only a slight change to traffic flow with little disruption for motorists.”